Jeff Hayzlett surprised the marketing community Friday by announcing he will leave his role as chief marketing officer at Eastman Kodak on May 28 to pursue personal projects.
Kodak said Hayzlett, 49, will provide transitional services through the end of August, adding it plans to reposition the role and structure of the office of the chief marketing officer. A Kodak spokesperson stressed Hayzlett’s decision to leave was his alone, insisting he is not being forced out.
Still unclear is whether this move signals a dramatic change in marketing at Kodak, which under Hayzlett’s guidance had focused heavily on leveraging digital channels including social media.
After nearly 20 years in international marketing, Hayzlett joined Kodak in 2006 as CMO and VP of the company’s Graphic Communications Group. By January 2009 he had risen to CMO for all of the company, reporting to CEO Antonio Perez and overseeing Kodak’s design and implementation of all marketing strategies, investments, policies, and processes.
In recent years, Hayzlett also had emerged as one of the one of the most high-profile advocates for leveraging the power of interactive advertising to establish emotional connections with consumers and was a regular keynote speaker at marketing and digital media conferences. He’s received numerous awards and honors, including the Frost & Sullivan Lifetime Achievement Award for marketing and “Business to Business Marketer of the Year” by BtoB Magazine.
“Jeff Hayzlett is a bona fide thought leader,” said Randall Rothenberg, president/CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau upon hearing of Hayzlett’s departure from Kodak. “He’s also been unusually effective…in communicating a neglected lesson of the digital era: that B2B marketers and B2C marketers have a lot to learn from each other.”